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Check Engine Light Facts That Are Helpful to Know

Most people think that the check engine light is annoying, but if you really think about it, it’s quite amazing. This light is there to help you avoid damaging your automobile. It warns you that something is wrong so you can take action right away to prevent further engine problems. Let’s take a moment to talk about the check engine warning. If yours comes on, you can count on Great Falls Auto Repair to find the problem and fix it.

It’s Not Assigned to a Specific System

The check engine warning covers anything under the hood that doesn’t have a light of its own. It will turn on if you’re having general automotive problems or if there is a problem with the system that doesn’t have a dashboard warning light. As you’ve noticed, your brakes, oil levels, engine temperature, and so on have their own warning lights or gauges. The check engine warning comes on for everything else.

It’s Controlled By the Engine Control Module

The check engine light is controlled by the engine control module (ECM). Some people also call this the engine control unit. This is your automobile’s main computer chip. All of the system sensors report to it so that it can make adjustments to keep your vehicle running as safely and efficiently as possible. When a sensor reports an error, the ECM will attempt to fix the problem itself. If the ECM cannot resolve the issue, it will turn on the associated dashboard warning light. This includes the check engine warning.

Reasons Why the ECM Turns it On

Reasons why the check engine light comes on are generally related to your vehicle’s electrical, exhaust, fuel, ignition, or transmission systems. The most common reasons why the ECM turns on a check engine light include problems with the

  • Catalytic converter
  • Fuel cap
  • Mass airflow sensor
  • Oxygen sensor
  • Spark plugs
  • Transmission

Electrical system problems can also trigger a check engine warning, especially if the ECM or another system sensor is malfunctioning. The only thing that you can fix yourself is the fuel cap. The check engine warning will come on if it is too loose.

It Can Be Reset But Shouldn’t Be

Many people are tempted to find a way to reset the check engine light so they can get it to turn off and stop bothering them. As you can see by the above list, however, the check engine light comes on for very good reasons. As such, it’s important to have your automobile repaired instead of attempting to reset the check engine light yourself.

Great Falls Auto Repair strives to be the best auto repair shop in Great Falls, Montana, and we can find out why your check engine warning came on. Call us to schedule an appointment today.

Photo by BDoty from Getty Images via Canva Pro
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